The global police agency is investing the ways crime can be regulated in a virtual reality universe.
Jurgen Stock, secretary general at Interpol, said that the police agency is currently developing a strategy that the organization will be able to use to police crime that occurs in the metaverse.
The virtual reality universe has seen a great deal of hype but has yet to experience any mainstream use.
Interpol has developed its own virtual reality (VR) environment in anticipation of a potential widespread use of the metaverse. In Interpol’s VR environment, users are able to undergo training and attend meetings. Stock explained that the agency is determined to keep up with the technology and that it is important that the agency not be left behind by the advancement of tech.
“Criminals are sophisticated and professional in very quickly adapting to any new technological tool that is available to commit crime,” said Stock. “We need to sufficiently respond to that. Sometimes lawmakers, police, and our societies are running a little bit behind.” He also added that “We have seen if we are doing it too late, it already impacts trust in the tools we are using, and therefore the metaverse. In similar platforms that already exist, criminals are using it.”
Interpol’s VR environment allows police officers to experience the metaverse and what it could be.
The VR environment is accessible exclusively through secure servers, and police officers can use it to experience this application for virtual reality, providing them with a sense of the types of crimes that have the potential to happen, and how those crimes could be policed.
The issue is that while the metaverse might be a virtual reality environment, it can still be a place in which real-life problems and crimes can develop. This was illustrated last year when the BBC conducted an investigation in which they identified issues relating to verbal and sexual harassment in virtual reality games. In that case, the journalist behind the investigation called the trend “disturbing.”
Later in 2022, campaigners alleged that a 21-year-old researcher’s avatar was sexually assaulted in the Horizon Worlds VR platform from Meta.
It is precisely these types of issues that are already being identified that have underscored the importance of being able to police crimes taking place in the metaverse, according to Interpol.